Here Are The Top 6 Ways To Save Money When Living On A Shoestring Budget
Living on a shoestring budget isn’t easy, but by the time someone realizes that they are on a shoestring budget, they are not left with any other option. It is when the going gets tough, that the tough get going. If you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where making ends meet becomes difficult, then you will need to revisit your financial management strategy in order to come up with a plan that will help you come out of this situation and create a better and more prosperous reality for yourself.
1- Survivor Mindset
The first thing that you need to do in such a situation is to have a survivor mindset. A change in financial circumstances requires a difference in your mindset. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, then you will need to live as a survivor. It will be a daily struggle, and you will need to set daily goals. At this level, you will need to set up yearly, monthly, weekly and then daily goals and once you have placed your long term goals, forget about them and only focus on your daily targets. You will have to move “inch by inch” to make sure that you survive each day.
The survivor’s mindset is very important because this will put you in a zone where your survival instincts will take over and allow you to function optimally.
2- Make a List of Items You Spend On
This is the most crucial step when it comes to cutting costs to manage your budget and maximize your savings. You will have to make a list of all the items that you spend your income on. The best way to do it is to categorize your spending items, for instance, you can make the following categories
- Loan repayments
- Utility payments
- Grocery expenditure
- Discretionary expenditure
You can add more categories according to your own expenditure patterns. Once you have set up the categories and allocated expenditure heads to each category, now you will need to look at each expenditure separately to see how you can save money for that expenditure.
3- Loan Repayments
If you have got loan repayments, then they will most likely take a large chunk out of your income. you will need to look for ways to reduce your debt payments if it is possible. One way to reduce debt payments is to consolidate your debt. Doing so may help you get lower rates which may give you some breathing space on monthly repayments.
Another way to reduce loan repayments is to repay high-interest debt such as credit card debt first. Most people use their cards carelessly, and it ends up in a pile of debt that becomes more and more difficult to pay off. The best thing to do in this situation would be to repay the credit card debt on priority and then limit the credit card used only to emergencies.
If you have got mortgage payments, then you can refinance the mortgage to get a longer-term mortgage, this will once again give you some breathing space. However, make sure that you consult your mortgage lender first as they will be able to give you a piece of better advice.
Read More : Top 20 Applications To Save Money
4- Utility Bill Payments
Based on where you live, you may have several utility bills to pay each month. The best way to cut down on utility payments is to limit your usage of utilities. For instance, when you leave for work, you can switch off all electrical appliances, including the refrigerator to save electricity consumption.
Switch the appliances off instead of leaving them on standby when you are not using them. It may seem meaningless, but when you leave your tv or other appliances on standby, they still consume a minimum amount of energy. Over the period of a month or a year, this can amount to a considerable amount of energy usage.
In a way, this can be considered eco-living, where you try to reduce your usage of the utilities that you have to pay for by as much as possible.
5- Grocery Expenditure
The greatest room for savings will be under the grocery head. Your loan repayments and utility payments will have limited room for saving money, but you can completely change the way you spend on your groceries.
Look for discounts
Needless to say that if you are on a tight budget, then you should prioritize discount offers. Grocery stores put up discount offers all the time. You can download the applications of the stores where you shop at, to stay updated with the latest offers and then avail them as they come by.
Items like toilet paper, toothpaste, shaving creams etc. are recurring items in our grocery lists. Therefore it may be cheaper to buy them in bulk to avail bulk purchase discounts.
Look for bargains
Gillette isn’t the only shaving foam out there, and Dove isn’t the only beauty soap. You may save up a considerable amount by looking for substitute brands that are cheaper and most often offer a similar level of quality.
Buy vegetables and fruits from the local farmers market
Superstores sell cleaned and packaged vegetables that usually cost more because of the value that has been added to them. While it is certainly convenient but if you are looking to save money, then it will be better to buy fresh vegetables from your local farmers market. You will need to wash and clean the vegetables and fruits, but that’s not a lot of work when you look at the cost savings.
Read More : How Do I Save Money on Daily Purchases?
6- Discretionary Expenditure
This is another category where you can reduce your expenditure by a great margin. Discretionary expenditures are those expenditures that depend on your own discretion. If you are in a survivor mindset, then you can quickly think of ways to minimize your spending.
Walk or use a bicycle for short distances instead of taking the car or bus.
This will not only help you save money but will also help you with your physical fitness. We have become so used to travelling in cars and vehicles that we forget that our bodies are designed for physical activity and movement. If you have to go a block or two, then you can simply walk on foot or use a bicycle. This will save up on fuel and maintenance cost of your car or the loss of bus tickets.
Get Rid of Tv Subscription and Switch to Internet-Based Streaming
If you like to consume content in your free time and have got tv subscription services, then it will be wise to get them cut off and switch to internet-based streaming services like Netflix and Amazon prime etc. If you like to keep updated with local and international news, then you can easily stream news channels over the internet.
If it doesn’t sound too offensive, frankly if you are living paycheck to paycheck, you shouldn’t have time for tv. Fine, you can use streaming apps, but the bulk of your spare time should go to looking for productive ways to increase your income and savings. For this, you will be better served with self-help books and using your spare time to freelance so that you can earn extra income.
Living on a shoestring budget isn’t easy, but if it is done with the survivor mindset and a proper strategy, then it can certainly be made more manageable. You have to cut down on everything and stay at the minimum level to meet your needs and save as much as you can so that you can create a financial cushion for yourself that will allow you to progress to a better financial state.
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